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Thread: From Cyprus They Rose - Tales from the Mediterranean

  1. #81
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aylo1 View Post
    This is starting to sound like a medieval version of the Ptolemies of Egypt. Any chance of a Cleopatra like character??
    I'm not sure if one sibling-marriage is enough for that comparison quite yet.

    And I cannot unfortunately answer to the Cleopatra question; All komnenid females descending from Isaakios have died before or in their early thirties. It's quite too short to have them have a big role in the story quite yet; besides opportunities for such is yet to come, we shall see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Absolutely marvellous, a medieval set-up for a classic Greek tragedy. You are a evil mastermind.
    I hope you will like what is to come as well.

  2. #82
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    Chapter XIII: The Last Words of an Old Man

    August 1214




    “Is it our only choice?” the man asked, knowing the answer.

    “We have been waiting for too long already – the Persians will reach us soon!”

    Alexios looked southwards from the castle’s window; he could see the smoke rising from Rustavi which was only a day’s march from Tbilisi.

    “We have managed to keep the Colchis valley clear of enemy troops, but we don’t know how long our men can hold the mountain passes”, leader of Georgia’s Alani vassals put his hand on the king’s shoulder, “I know how you feel – I too had to flee from my home.”

    Georgia was in crisis. The Kipchak tribes of the north were swarming down upon them and the Khwarezmian Empire had laid their greedy eyes on the Caucasus kingdom. The only area still under Georgian control was the Colchis valley, situated between Caucasus Major and the Pontic Mountains.

    Areas under Georgian control marked with blue, the occupied Alania has been coloured red. Most of the land shown on map belongs to the Kingdom of Georgia.


    “We will continue from Kutaisi to Poti and across the Black Sea to Trebizon. It should be a safe haven.”

    The Greek king shook his head; even if they did make it to Trebizon the future of Georgia looked dim.

    ***


    September 1214 – Seleucia




    The castle lied on a hill next to the actual city and it was roughly half an hour’s horse ride from the port. William was glad his distant Armenian relative had invited him for a visit to the Principality, giving him an excuse to escape the tense atmosphere at home.

    Romanos and Osmond were constantly fighting with each other over Anna’s and her half brother’s union. The reason for sending Anna away from him had been the fact that they were siblings after all, but now she was married and pregnant to another brother. Romanos claimed he would have acted more responsibly around her and blamed both Manuel and the Norman marshal for letting things go out of hands.

    William’s mother Marie was trying to help Osmond and Manuel sort things out between the two brothers and succeeded to a decree; they were no longer on each other’s throats and could even do the necessary work together, but their relationship was still strained by the cocktail of emotions both had gone through during the past year.

    Osmond, both brother and uncle to William, was accepting the idea of his Greek roots and brotherhood with the Komnenids, but there was something suspicious about the man, albeit William quite couldn’t figure out what. He and his new uncle-brother were getting on relatively well; Osmond was impressed by the young heir’s affection for Norman culture and thought of him as a reliable friend and ally whenever the situation broke out of hands with his new siblings. The feeling wasn’t exactly mutual, but William knew there was fault in all of them. In the beginning he was constantly getting in between the three brothers, but things were starting to cool down – in fact, the atmosphere whenever his uncles and father were around each other was so chilly that it was hard to believe they were living on a subtropical island.

    The castle’s strong, round towers glimmered in the morning sun as William arrived to the city of Seleucia with his entourage. The city was bigger than he had thought, most buildings were naturally made out of stone. They rode in through the castle gates and were greeted by the garrison commander.

    “The lord is waiting for you in the dining hall”, he informed them and guided the guests inside.

    The prince was old, soon reaching the respectable age of 60, and dressed in a long and warm fur coat he wore day and night.

    “Ah, young William!” Leon greeted him with a wide smile; he was just finishing his breakfast. William could see the man wasn’t in best of shape; his skin was pale and he kept coughing all the time. He walked to his distant relative and the men kissed each other on the cheek.

    Prince Leon II of Armenia


    “Are you hungry, my boy?” the prince asked William who informed him they had eaten just before arriving at the port.

    Leon pat the young heir’s back: “let’s go for a stroll around the castle walls, I need to talk to you.”

    It was a chilly and misty morning, but the sun’s caring rays kept the two men warm as they walked slowly along the castle wall, William supporting the old prince.

    Leon wanted to stop; the men gazed at the city spreading below them: “Isn’t it beautiful my boy?” the old prince asked his guest and sighed, “I am afraid I can’t enjoy its sight much longer.”

    The two men started walking again and the prince continued: “As you can see my time is coming to an end”, the man hunched and started coughing intensively and young William asked if he was all right. The old man couldn’t speak, but raised his hand to signal he’d be fine. He straightened himself up and pat on his chest to calm down his lungs.

    “As I was saying”, he continued, “your father will soon take my place.” Leon looked worried: “I am not sure how well he will manage”, pointing out Manuel’s lack of interest to properly run a state and his willingness to assign tasks to others dues to his laziness, “but I have hope in you, my boy. Your father has written to me of your great skills and interests in statesmanship.”

    The old prince pointed north towards the mountains: “Do you know what’s behind those peaks?”

    “Turks”, William answered.

    “Turks! And hordes of them. For now they are more eager to fight with each other, but you can expect them not to ignore us once they get their act together. I am afraid your father is too incompetent to keep my people safe if they decide to expand southwards”, the man started coughing again and continued, “We are safe for now as part of the Empire, but I can tell your father isn’t willing to acknowledge my liege.”

    William had forgotten that Armenian Cilicia was once again part of the Byzantine realm thanks to the great autonomy it enjoyed, but he knew as well as the prince did that Manuel would break away from the Empire – the Komnenids didn’t get along too well with the Romans unless they were the ones sitting on the throne.

    “The Byzantine officers and troops are already preparing for their withdrawal; they won’t cause you trouble but news spread fast”, he was getting back to the Turks, “You must find the means to enforce this little principality’s defences while your father still sits on the throne.”

    William nod, he understood the threat posed by the Sultanate in Anatolia’s interior.

    The old man coughed again and sighed: “If only my father knew the throne would pass onto his brother’s grandson through a maternal line”, the prince looked to the sky, “he’d descend back to earth at the instant and I would have to bear with his furious rage.” The two men laughed.

    A chart showing William's and Manuel's relation to the Rubenid family.


    “Have you thought about marriage yet, my boy?” Leon changed subject, “My daughter will reach maturity soon and...”

    William raised his hand to tell the old man not to bother with it: “An entourage has been sent to Portugal to escort my future wife to this side of the Mediterranean. Her name is Joana de Borgonha and from what I’ve gathered she seems to be a great catch.”

    “Ahh, the granddaughter of the Portuguese King”, the old prince sneered, “I am impressed.”

    The prince started to suddenly cough again, but more furiously than before. He collapsed on his knees pressing his chest with both arms, trying to calm himself down. William tried to help the man by patting his back but it didn’t seem to help.

    “Remember the Turks!” the man managed to say as the coughing got more intense.

    “William!” the man screamed as if had forgotten something, “the two cousins... *cough* be warned... *cough*don’t...” William couldn’t understand half of what the man was trying to say. He started to cough blood and the young heir panicked. Leon lost his conscious and William turned this on his side so he wouldn’t choke on his own blood. He yelled for guards who rushed to the scene and helped him carry the old man back to his bedchamber.

    The whole court and many of the servants were gathered outside the prince’s door. He was inside alone with the bishop and a doctor. William noticed a younger woman standing further back from rest of the crowd. Her eyes were in tears and the young heir asked for her name, trying to start a discussion and comfort her. The woman looked at him with her sad eyes without saying a word and slowly walked away sobbing.

    “Who was that?” William asked the old prince’s much younger wife.

    The woman looked angrily at him and answered with a cold tone: “She’s Anahid, my husband’s lover.”

    William was embarrassed and decided it was better not to ask any more questions while they waited for news about the state of Leon’s health.

    The door opened and the bishop stepped outside, looking down at his feet. Everyone knew what his words would be before he even started: “The Prince has passed away.”

  3. #83
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Manuel inherits?
    And shall Manuel be inherited by a Norman?

  4. #84
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Manuel inherits?
    And shall Manuel be inherited by a Norman?
    Well, considering Manuel is next in line and the old prince is dead, he just needs to receive the news now.

    And William is Manuel's oldest son, so you can draw the conclusion from there.

  5. #85
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    I'll post this here too in case someone would like to give me a helping hand: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...d.php?t=463964

  6. #86
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    Chapter XIV: The Foreign Throne

    PART 1

    November 1214





    Manuel was more at ease since his wife had forced him to confront and settle things with Osmond. He had found a certain degree of tranquillity and deep inside the prince was glad William was his firstborn after all. With the anger shifting from his half-brother towards his father. He even tore down a statue erected for his father's honour at Lefkosia's market square. Some had scolded him over having no respect for his father, but Manuel claimed a man ‘who sleeps with his daughter-in-law deserves no respect’ and ‘as my father apparently tried to steal my wife; I may as well steal his honour."

    The prince looked at Osmond who noticed this and raised his goblet at him before drinking – it seemed to be Osmond’s way of telling he held no grudge against his liege. Manuel drank his wine in one go, without returning the favour. He hoped someone would solve the hatred between Romanos and his new half-brother, but he knew it wasn’t an easy task to calm down two young men fighting over a woman.

    “So, when is that little, deformed freak going to born?” Romanos sneered at the Norman marshal, pointing at his wife’s pregnancy nearing its end.

    Osmond punched the table with his fists and rose up with the intention to start a fight with his brother. Manuel noticed this; he didn’t want the meal to be ruined again.

    “Romanos!” he rose up and yelled at the younger brother, but lowered his voice back to normal levels, “I need someone reliable to go and oversee Limassol as there are rumours of rampant crime in the city. My intention was to inform you after the breakfast, but I think its better you go to bag your things and leave immediately.”

    Irritated Romanos looked at the Prince: “Very well, 'my liege', I see which side you have picked and do as you command”, he turned to Osmond. “At least I don’t have to deal with the problems over here”, he said and ran his fingers across his throat in a slicing motion.

    “Don’ mind him”, Marie said and pat his furious son’s hand while Romanos left the dining room.

    Everyone knew Romanos wasn't seriously after his sister anymore; he had married Anna, daughter of the Russian king from the Rurikovich dynasty and although it wasn’t clear if any emotions were involved, they seemed to be getting along perfectly. His stubbornness just prevented him from admitting this to Osmond – Romanos would have considered it as a victory for the young Norman.

    Manuel sighed with a relief; peace would prevail in the castle while Romanos was in the west of the island. The prince had started reconstructing Limassol and people were returning faster than he expected. A mild chaos resulted and petty crime was on the rise without the adequate presence law enforcements. Trade was recovering in the city, but Manuel ordered heavy tolls to ships arriving at Limassol to please the Famagustan merchants who feared trade routes might shift away from their city.

    The prince was about to continue with his meal when a courier suddenly interrupted him. The man kneeled before Manuel: “I bring news from Cilicia, my lord.”

    “Has something happened to William?” Manuel worried.

    The messenger rose up and continued: “No my lord, the old Rubenid is dead.”

    Manuel stood quiet for a moment and a wide smile appeared on his face: “The prince is dead”, he laughed, “Leon II is history!”

    Osmond looked baffled and asked Manuel why he was so happy over the incident.

    “Boy, we need to find someone to get you up to date with everything!” the prince smiled and was about to pat his half-brother’s back but reverted the action upon realising what he was doing.

    “I am... was the heir to the throne of Armenian Cilicia and the death of my distant relative means I have now inherited it all.”

    Osmond immediately realised all the opportunities and challenges faced by such a nation. Armenian Cilicia was a medium-sized, relatively rich and populous principality in the crossroads of four different worlds; the Turks, the Greeks; the Arabs and the Crusader states. He started thinking about all the possibilities and how the importance and duties of his role were increasing.

    “But that is grea...” he started but changed his tone to a less enthusiastic one and tried to hide his smile, “I mean that is good for you, I can understand your happiness now.”

    Osmond, Manuel, their wives and the two Rubenid sisters Alice and Philippa set off to Famagusta. They arrived to the coastal city after a few days. Ships were prepared and the group set sail with 800 Cypriot soldiers. Manuel doubted they would face any problems, but it was always better to be prepared when inheriting a foreign throne – especially since he wasn’t a straight descendant. He sat back on a chair placed on the upper deck of his galley, looked into the horizon and smiled; he was sailing towards success without having to lift a finger.

  7. #87
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    And now you have border with the heathen...
    Are you a kingdom or just Duke of Cyprus?
    And with your inheritance Cilicia is no longer part of Byzantium?

  8. #88
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    It's a powerbase to build from... and btw, I'm loving the graphics in the recent updates!
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  9. #89
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    If anyone has ideas how I could improve my writing or the AAR in general, feel free to speak out - I'd appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    And now you have border with the heathen...
    Are you a kingdom or just Duke of Cyprus?
    And with your inheritance Cilicia is no longer part of Byzantium?
    I am just a duke of Cyprus (and Armenia Minor now) and yes, Cilicia is now part of the Komnenid realm rather than the 'Holy Byzantine Empire of Rome', which they should be rightful called as since the treacherous adoption of elective law.

    Quote Originally Posted by General_BT View Post
    It's a powerbase to build from... and btw, I'm loving the graphics in the recent updates!
    Indeed, the base tax rose significantly, but most importantly the demesne now has an actual military - we'll just have to wait and see whether unwilling and lazy Manuel grabs the opportunity.

    And thank you, I like to do maps and even search and edit the pictures.

  10. #90
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    Chapter XIV: The Foreign Throne

    PART 2

    December 1215





    “William!” Manuel yelled to his son who was standing on the harbour, waiting for their arrival. The young man yelled something back to his father. They were still too far for Manuel to understand what he was saying, but assumed the son was greeting him as he was waving a hand.

    The ship thumped gently against the small harbour and Manuel stepped on to the pier. The Byzantine ambassador was there as well, boarding a ship with the last soldiers and imperial belongings and noticed the new prince looking impatiently at them.

    “Do not worry, we are on our way already”, the diplomat said, “I wish you all the best and assure you the empire understands your decision.” He walked up the ship’s ramp and disappeared below the deck.

    Manuel turned to his son: “It’s great to see you again, William! How have you managed without a guiding hand?”

    “Everything is going fine father, I received plenty of help from the local court.”

    “We must arrange festivities in the castle for tomorrow’s coronation. This is a time for celebration!”

    “I think you should lie low for a while; the locals were very fond of the old Rubenid and expect you to mourn with them”, William opposed to his father’s plans.

    Manuel sighed: “Fine, I will play the role of a weeping successor for a couple of days, week at most. These people have had nearly two months to grieve for their loved prince.”

    Marie was on the brink of vomiting as she descended from the ship; seafaring apparently wasn’t her favourite pastime. She greeted her son and a servant helped her onto her carriage.

    The village near the port consisted of five noticeable buildings and approximately a dozen cottages occupied by fishermen and their families. Two large warehouses stood near the small but strong wooden pier. First one was used to store cotton, dried fish and wheat that, apart from the fish which was transported to the actual city, were exported to Cyprus, while the second one sheltered exports coming from the island – mainly olives, wine and sugar.

    A wooden watchtower had been erected at the pier end opposite to the warehouses. It reached six meters in height and narrowed slightly but clearly towards the top. The two guards of the tower were watching as handful of galleys unloaded Manuel’s troops onto a rocky shore a bit further from the pier.

    William and his father were walking towards the other two unmentioned buildings; an inn and its stables. The young heir had brought enough horses with him for the courtiers travelling with his father.

    “Did you enjoy the role of a regent?” Manuel inquired his son.

    “It was most enjoyable”, William smiled, “though there was not much to do. The state ran by itself and with the skills and knowledge of local administrators and the courtiers, I could concentrate to exploring our new realm – though I must admit I haven’t been far outside the actual city.”

    Manuel was pleased of his son’s initiative and interest towards the principality. The men rode off while Manuel’s galley was steering from the pier to make room for another ship which carried the prince’s companions.

    ***





    Formal occasions, such as the dinner served in the castle, were always a bore for Manuel. Although he enjoyed the food, he would have rather dined in a company he actually enjoyed. Now he was sitting amidst the weeping willow who kept mourning after her “great husband” while everyone knew she was glad to be able to remarry a younger and more fertile man, gluttonous priests complaining over the sins of the people while devouring whatever delicates they could reach with their greedy, fat hands and numerous courtiers inquiring of Manuel’s plans for the future. The only thing that mattered to the prince was whether his court could do something for him, rather than the opposite.

    Manuel had been informed he wouldn’t meet his vassal lords until tomorrow’s coronation ceremony, but someone else was missing from the table as well.
    “Where is that attractive girl we greeted with at the entrance hall? She hasn’t joined us for the meal like rest of the court.”

    William looked at the young widow sobbing out tales of her passed husband and whispered in his father’s ear: “She’s the old prince’s mistress, Anahid. She dislikes socialising with the court and from what I’ve gathered no one seems to either like or know her.”

    Manuel smiled and rolled the empty silver goblet between his thumb and index fingers. “Perhaps she needs some company, an understanding soul to comfort her.”

    “It’s no use”, William insisted, “She hardly talks to anyone and tries to avoid others.”

    His father didn’t listen but rose up and pat his son’s shoulder on the way out of the dining hall, followed by curious eyes of the court.

    ***





    Anahild was looking out of her window as the evening drew to an end; she was destined to sink with the sun. Someone knocked on her doorpost and she turned around, her facial expression telling the man she wasn’t pleased to have company.

    “Evening, Anahild. Will you have a drink with your lord?” Manuel asked the woman and raised the two goblets.

    “I’d rather not, but I have the feeling you don’t take no for an answer.”
    Manuel smiled and handed the goblet to her: “Take it, you will feel better.”
    Anahild took the wine and sat on a set of chairs at the corner of her room with the prince.

    “I know how you must feel”, Manuel started, “it is not easy to lose someone close, someone who looked after you. I can assure you we will let you reside in the castle as long as you wish and grant you a fair allowance.” The prince gave a grin at her: “Though, you are also allowed to continue offering services to your new master.”

    The woman took a sip from her chalice and sighed: “I see you are one of those who believe all I wanted was his gifts and gold. We actually loved each other and I cared for him – at least more than the which his wife is. Have you ever lost someone who defined your life, someone truly important?”

    Manuel was boggled by the question, but decided to tell the story of Osmond and how he had thought his firstborn was a stillborn.

    “But you didn’t lose your child”, the woman said after a moment of silence and looked at him, “You didn’t lose anything but gained a brother. I can understand how you must feel when your own father...” she held a pause and continued, “But you certainly didn’t lose a thing. You need to change the way you see this whole thing.”

    The confused prince gave a nod at the young woman as an answer. They finished their wine and Manuel walked towards her door: “Well, I think you better rest now; it’s late already. I will come see you tomorrow and we can discuss your future in the court.”

    The woman wished goodnight for her prince and Manuel closed the door. The prince was walking down the corridor, deep in his thoughts when he heard a clang behind him as a chair fell against the floor. Manuel turned back and headed towards Anahild’s room. He opened the door and closed his eyes in despair – the woman had taken her own life.

    Manuel sighed; he disliked people with no hope for the better and was certain they brought it onto themselves. He yelled for guards and a young man rushed to him. The soldier did sign of the cross upon noticing the lady hanging from her chandelier.

    “Go find someone to clean this mess”, irritated Manuel ordered him and the guard ran down the corridor in hope of finding a priest or a bishop.

    The prince was pondering Anahild’s words when he retired to his own bedchamber; perhaps he did need to see this all from a different angle.

  11. #91
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    'Our new realm', is he not a bit too arrogant?
    Suicide by hanging, and quite a swift one, I thought the body would struggle to breath at least for 30 seconds.
    Mess, hardly a mess without blood spilth.

  12. #92
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    'Our new realm', is he not a bit too arrogant?
    Suicide by hanging, and quite a swift one, I thought the body would struggle to breath at least for 30 seconds.
    Mess, hardly a mess without blood spilth.
    Well I am no expert in matters of hanging, but I was under the impression that you die by braking your neck, although there's no indication how far Manuel had gone down the corridor, so it might have taken him some time to get back to Anahild's room.

  13. #93
    F-CEO of EUIV:MEIOU and Taxes gigau's Avatar
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    Just read the entire AAR. Very enjoyable, really... i love the writing style and the way you point out the caracter traits


    As for hanging, as far as i know, if it is done "properly" (if you indulge the expression ), the neck should be broken and death nearly instantaneous... Anahild was lucky. I've also read that some wealthy enough condemned people would pay to get their neck snapped to be sure not to suffocate to death.
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    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigau View Post
    Just read the entire AAR. Very enjoyable, really... i love the writing style and the way you point out the caracter traits


    Thank you and glad you like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gigau View Post
    As for hanging, as far as i know, if it is done "properly" (if you indulge the expression ), the neck should be broken and death nearly instantaneous... Anahild was lucky. I've also read that some wealthy enough condemned people would pay to get their neck snapped to be sure not to suffocate to death.
    Or she is just a typical woman and took the time and preparations required for a successful... execution of the operation.

  15. #95
    F-CEO of EUIV:MEIOU and Taxes gigau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazmir View Post
    TOr she is just a typical woman and took the time and preparations required for a successful... execution of the operation.
    Yeah, that too
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  16. #96
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    Chapter XV: At Your Service

    December 1215




    Map of the new principality of Cyprus-Cilicia and its neighbours.


    Manuel rolled from side to side on his bed trying to ignore the noise, but he couldn稚 fall asleep anymore. The irritated prince gave up and jumped in a pair of woolly shoes and covered himself with a warm robe. The sun had already climbed up to the sky hours earlier and the court and the castle痴 servants were occupied by their daily duties. Manuel on the other hand was used to waking up relatively late, which the Armenians had no idea of. Many pairs of eyes followed the grumpy and improperly dressed prince as he walked hastily down the corridors towards the disorderly voices.

    Manuel was getting closer to the source of the sounds, which seemed to be coming from the entrance hall. The noise was caused by two men arguing loudly with each other in Armenian. The prince stopped on a balcony near the stairs leading down and watched the three men below.

    One of them, a chubby man with a round head, small eyes and a big nose, was only distinguishable from a pig by his expensive Italian clothing. His face was red as a cherry and he was waving his small hands wildly in the air as he yelled at the other man, a fairly thin and blonde man dressed in stylised chain armour used for ceremonies and special occasions rather than battles.
    The chubby one held a short pause and his opponent seized the opportunity, yelling back and waving his finger around, almost hitting the other man痴 face with it.

    The third man Manuel could recognize; he was the commander of the castle guard. He was desperately trying to keep the men off each other and calm them down but with little success.

    展hat is going on here?! irritated Manuel interrupted the men who now noticed the prince above them.

    溺y lord, I am terribly sorry! I tried to keep them quiet but...

    展ho are these troublemakers anyway?



    The commander sprang the stairs up to his master as if to distinguish himself from the two men: 典hese are your faithful vassals, lords of Tarsos and Adana, Constantine Hetoumi and Constantine Hetoumi.

    The Hetoumis were a powerful Armenian family descending from an influential noble Hethum Hetoumi, the great-grandfather of both Constantines. As his only sons were two twins Sembat and Oshin, he faced the difficult decision of which to make his heir. In the end, the old lord decided to divide his lands between the brothers into Tarsos and Adana. Since that day the two branches of the Hetoumis have been in a feud between each other, both claiming to be the sole rulers of the divided territory.

    展ait both of you are called Constantine? How on earth do I tell which is which?


    Constantine Hetoumi & Constantine Hetoumi



    The commander answered for the two men: 典he fat one is descendant of Oshin, thus we call him Constantine Oshian. The other one is Constantine Sembatyan. Together we simply refer to them as 奏he two cousins.

    的n any case, we have come to pledge our allegiance to you my lord. We are your humble servants, the armoured one informed his prince.

    鄭nd bring gifts! the Oshian added, revealing a marvellous sceptre carved from pure ivory.

    添ou and your extravagance spending!" the blond one criticized his distant relative, "I carry no gifts for it is not customary when a prince is crowned in Armenia. Your people are suffering in poverty while you try to buy our lord on your side...

    The men started arguing again.

    泥o something about those two, I better go prepare myself for the coronation, Manuel told the desperate commander and left.

    ***




    The large church was crammed with people from all over the principality. The crowd bowed as the prince walked past them with his entourage made up of several high-ranking clergymen. People inside were divided into their respective estates, with clergy and nobility occupying the ground level and the lower classes situated on the balcony, following the ceremony from above.

    Osmond had also climbed on the balcony, something or rather someone, had caught his eye.

    The man had a wavy but short dark hair and he was dressed in a brown hooded cape. Although his rugged face and a long scar going from behind his ear down to his chin made him distinguishable from most ordinary men, they weren稚 his most remarkable feature.

    笛zsef the great Hungarian shadow Osmond said and the surprised man turned around, 的t seems my informers were correct.

    的 am just a humble farmer my lord, I don稚 know what you are talking of, but it is no place for you to wander amongst people of my status.

    轍uit your mumbling, the lack of nostrils revealed your identity to me the moment you stepped into this church, Osmond sneered, pointing out to the man痴 bitten-off nose.

    Jzsef stood quiet and showed no emotions. The men stared each other for a while until Osmond continued.

    的 know why you are here spying for the Turks and gathering information regarding the new prince. But don稚 worry; I have no intention to reveal you or your identity to anyone.

    Jzsef was a renowned spy and assassin, rumoured to have escaped from the gravest of situations. The man gave up and opened his mouth again: 添ou should reward your informers for their effectiveness. Why your benevolence towards me?

    鏑et痴 just say a man like me can always find work for a man like you, Osmond answered and looked down at the bishop blessing his half-brother on the altar. 典hat man down there has deeply insulted my honour. He thinks he is in control of this show and I am going to prove him wrong. For that I will need your services.

    的 am at your disposal if the pay is adequate.

    Osmond smiled: 的 will pay you what you are worth, don稚 worry about that. And if you decline I will have you hanged for spying keep that in mind.

    添ou don稚 leave me much choice; I can but trust your word. I go by the name Grigorii and you can find me from the tavern nearest to the prince痴 location I will be following him wherever he goes.

    的値l meet you soon then, Grigorii, Osmond gave a grin as the exposed spy left the scene.

    He looked down at the altar again as the bishop installed a crown on Manuel痴 head and swore for his revenge again: 的 will be the strongest...

  17. #97
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    A dream is born and a sword sharpened?

  18. #98
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    A dream is born and a sword sharpened?
    Indeed, though where Osmond is taking the court, plenty of swords will need to be sharpened.

  19. #99
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    I'm still reading this, though I have been absent from the forums for a few weeks. But I'm already catching up and will read it through shortly .

    Isaakios finally lost his last remains of his sane mind, ha?
    "Cum boni nihil faciunt homines, malum praevalet"

    "A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it." -

    溺any that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. -Gandalf the Grey

  20. #100
    Keeping the ship on course Kazmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auray View Post
    I'm still reading this, though I have been absent from the forums for a few weeks. But I'm already catching up and will read it through shortly .

    Isaakios finally lost his last remains of his sane mind, ha?
    Glad to see you're back! I was already afraid the followers of this AAR were reduced by a third.

    And Isaakios did go insane, albeit his madness didn't get time to develop too far.

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